Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Commemorating 2014

Okay, I am a tad late with this, I know. But, I think it is still early enough in the new year to contemplate the last and I wanted to commemorate the passing of 2014 through sharing with you my top reads of the year.

The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton

The Miniaturist made it in here with just a few days to go. A Christmas gift, finished on Boxing Day, I have been recommended it to anyone who will listen! 
A historical read, set in one of my favourite places, it was already looking promising; last summer we spent a few weeks in the Netherlands and whilst exploring Amsterdam visited The Rijksmuseum. I spent a good length of time peering in awe at the dolls house which inspired Jessie Burton’s novel – I was one of the few people over the age of ten, I must admit! 
The novel follows the tale of the young, naive, bride Nella Oortman as she embarks on her new married life in the capital with a husband who she hardly knows and who gives her a delectable dolls house to entertain her, rather than do it himself.  It is exquisitely written, beautifully descriptive and brilliantly compelling.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres 

I’ve had several attempts over the years to engage with this novel; however it wasn’t until the week of my English Literature exam that we clicked, and oh boy did we click. I have vivid memories of lying on my bed, engrossed, whilst crucial cue cards lay abandoned by my side. 
It follows the occupation of a Greek Island, Cephallnia, during WWII, and taught me a lot about a section of the warwhich I had never previously mulled over, that of Italy’s role in the conflict and the occupation of Greece. 
Its beautiful descriptions made me pine for Greece and fall head over heels in love with Carlos, a gay Italian solider. I don’t often cry at novels but I wept at Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt

Funnily enough I read The Goldfinch as my holiday read in Amsterdam and it also partly set in the city (see any theme here?!).
The Goldfinch follows Theo, who on the cusp of adolescent ends up in possession of Carel Fabritius’s painting ‘The Goldfinch’ after an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. As well as reaffirming my belief that I will never, ever send my future children to an American high school, it had me gripped from start to finish and really made me think about made me think what I would do in Theo’s shoes.
It's unsual for my mum, myself and my sister to all enjoy the same book but The Goldfinch was passed between us and finished in a matter of weeks! 

What were your top reads of 2014? And what books are you planning to enjoy in 2015?

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